Sunday, December 25, 2011

Leatherman Wingman

Leatherman 14 Function Multi-tool
Every year, I am tasked with the difficult project of putting together a Christmas Wishlist.  It is an arduous task that normally takes me a couple of weeks to complete.  Indeed, I have a big list of wants, but how to convey that to someone else can be quite a chore.  This year, I came across a neat multi-tool from Leatherman called The Wingman.  At 7 ounces, it seems it would be a good tool to have around for most EDC work.  Two things that made me zero in on this particular design (amongst all the great offerings from Leatherman) were the closed shape and the pocket clip.  Clearly, Leatherman intended for this tool to be carried in the front pocket on a daily basis.

The shape of the tool is contoured at the ends, which makes the body index into the front right pocket of my jeans well.  The pocket clip (which isn't shown in the pic to the left, damn it) is positioned to make the tool ride perfectly.  It slips into my jeans easily and can be drawn quickly.  After drawing, it is quick to slide my fore finger down and get a two-handed grip and open the spring loaded needle nose pliers with ease.  The large blade can be easily opened one-handed with your thumb if you are careful.  The blade is partially serrated, and it is pretty sharp out of the box.  I was able to slice through some thick card stock with ease.  The knife sliced through normal printer paper like a hot knife through butter.  Made of 420HC stainless steel, it is strong enough and precise enough for the kind of normal chores you will put it to.

Tools aboard the Wingman include:

  1. Spring-loaded needle nose pliers
  2. Spring-loaded regular pliers
  3. Spring-loaded wire cutters
  4. 420HC combination knife (serrated and plain)
  5. Package opener
  6. Wood/metal file
  7. Scissors
  8. Small screwdriver
  9. Medium Screwdriver
  10. Phillips Screwdriver
  11. 1.5" ruler
  12. Bottle opener
  13. Can opener
  14. Wire stripper

The pocket clip is also removable, should you decide you don't want to use it.  But just know that if you remove it, the tool will either float around in your pocket or you will have to use a belt pouch.  I prefer the pocket clip because it's familiar to me.  From all my years carrying a knife in that location, the multi-tool is a shoe-in fit for me.

My wife went the extra mile and had my name engraved on the side of the tool body, above where it says Leatherman Wingman.  I like personalized stuff.  It makes it mine.  Besides, when you're working around a bunch of other people, having your name on the tool not only makes it easily identifiable as yours, but it helps to keep the honest people around you honest.

How I got this tool made me chuckle a bit.  On Christmas Eve, we normally open gifts at my parents house.  It's a tradition that we've had as far back as I can remember.  Christmas Eve was the night that the whole family was together to exchange gifts.  Then we got something really special that "Santa" left for Christmas morning.  It's a good tradition.  Anyway, I completely forgot about what I put on my Christmas Wishlist.  I mean, 5 weeks ago is so far in the past.  As I tore into some really thoughtful  and useful gifts, I looked over to see my father open a small box that said Leatherman on it.  As I'm a big leatherman fan, and owner (I have the original Leatherman Wave), I immediately stopped to see what he got.  He pulled out the Wingman.  In awe, I was able to get into my hot little hands and take a close look at it.  "Man, this would be so cool to have," was what I said as I fondled it.  I had completely forgotten that I put it on my wishlist.  On Christmas morning, I was at home with my wife and kids opening more gifts.  I picked up a small package that was not the right size to be a box of ammo, nor was it heavy enough to be a brick.  To my surprise, I opened the package to find the Wingman sitting inside it.  Apparently, my mother bought one for me, but my wife beat her to the punch because she ordered it with my name engraved on it.  So, my good mother, knowing my dad likes stuff like this too, decided to give the one she bought to him instead!  Now we both have one!

I already like this tool a lot.  Last night and today, I've found a lot of reasons to use many of the tools on this little bad boy.  Last night, I used my dad's to help set up his new Galco classic lite shoulder holster.  Today, I've used mine to assemble tools that I got for Christmas, remove the peksy battery covers on the kid's toys, cut open packages and tighten stuff with the pliers.  This tool really is handy for the do-it-yourselfer.

At first, I thought that the 7 ounces would be too heavy for EDC, but after carrying mine effortlessly in my pocket, I stand corrected.  7 ounces is definitely heavier than my lighter CRKT Pikes Peak knife, but I pretty much forget about the Wingman until I need it.  It is amazing how much easier it is to just whip this dude out to do a small repair or adjustment on something without having to search the house for the tool, only to find out that you've spend 30 minutes trying to find a tool you've lost somewhere.  If I had a dollar for every time I've had to stop everything and search for a tool I've lost, I'd be a rich man by now.  The irony is that I usually find it in some place that I put it so it wouldn't get lost!  With that said, the Wingman will be a great tool, and will report up on it some time from now, as I get a chance to know it better and use it.

-James

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